CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper says there’s a possible revenue stream for the financing of a sports complex at Shawnee Park in Dunbar.
During an appearance Wednesday on 580-Live with Charleston Mayor Danny Jones, Carper said the commission would soon pay off bonds that financed investments in Appalachian Power Park and the new bridge at Coonskin Park.
“That will mean less debt the county will have. If we pay those things off and do some creative financing we’ll be able to support the payment of a bond (for the Shawnee project), Carper said.
The commission has one remaining payment on its original investment of $1.5 million that helped building Appalachian Power Park. It’s proven to be a good investment, Carper said.
“It has served well,” he said. “I hope to see that ballpark even do better in the future.”
Appalachian Power Park, which opened in April 2005, had an original price tag of $23 million with most of the money coming from the state and the city.
“We’re now in a position to pay off that debt and pay off some other debt and if we do that we’ll incur some future debt, but if the (Shawnee complex) is as success as I think it will be the citizens of this county and this state will be grateful for it,” Carper said.
The commission is studying the possibility of reconfiguring the park into a multi-sports complex, which would include four baseball fields, six soccer fields and space for practice and youth fields. The alteration would result in removing the Shawnee Park golf course, though some facilities would remain, such as the pool.
The commission has conducted one public hearing and is preparing for a second hearing.